A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Most of the messages here are mixed.
Positive Role Models
While the main character is theoretically on the side of good, he too breaks rules to attain what he desires. The majority of the characters are liars, thugs, or otherwise criminals.
Violence & Scariness
Includes off-screen drowning, a graphic on-screen murder, gunplay, a graphic cutting, slapping of a woman, and some extended fistfights.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two sexually suggestive photos, a suggestive joke, a couple in bed together (after off-screen sex), implication of incest, very minor female nudity (in profile).
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Some strong profanity.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A bit of social drinking .
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Chinatown focuses on corruption within the government. The film presents many instances of mild violence (fistfights, gunplay, murdered bodies, etc.) and a more disturbingly violent onscreen killing of a major character. Parents should note that characters with whom viewers place emotional investment meet extremely unfortunate demises. The film also includes some sexually suggestive materials (post-coitus conversation, dirty jokes, implications of incest, etc.). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Roman Polanski's film is a visually lavish trip back into the hardboiled detective genre. The gorgeous costumes and harsh lighting help to capture the seediness lurking behind legitimate society in 1930s Los Angeles. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences recognized the film with Oscar nominations in major performance, design, and technical categories. Robert Towne (Shampoo, Mission: Impossible) ultimately brought home the Academy Award for his original screenplay. (The writing process had been a contentious one, as Towne had originally planned for a happy ending.) The film was intended to be the first of a trilogy, about the water company, gas company, and a freeway project respectively. Ultimately, only one sequel (The Two Jakes) found its way into production; Nicholson would go on to direct and star in that film.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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